So this would be the opening letter of the epistolary GBB that I am not writing. Pity I'm not, because it would be a lot of fun.
... there may or may not already be a second letter.
(The third would be not a letter but a journal entry for which I would have to research late-18C zoology and natural history, which obviously I am not going to do.)
August 27. Charlotte Bradbury to the Comtesse von Baum.
You must forgive me, my dearest Dorothy, for taking so long to reply to your last; and I know you shall, for I am altogether too charming and delightful for you to remain cross with me two hours together! Besides, if you only knew what a time I have had of it out here—I truly believe that I shall never learn to be a gracious and unruffled hostess, no matter how my friends school me. But you see, I have forgotten the rules of composition already, and begin my story at the end.
To leap back to the middle, then.—You know how I like to use the back stairs and hidden passages whenever there is nobody but the servants to see. I have been doing so well, remembering to behave like a real lady instead of a savage; but yesterday evening, after almost everybody had retired, it occurred to me that I must talk to my cook about Mrs. Sanditon’s constitution—as of course I ought to have done before they arrived last week, and had I done so we might perhaps have avoided her bilious attack yesterday forenoon, when—there, you see? This is why I am always obliged to write two or three drafts of a letter before I send it, to anybody but you, for I simply cannot cure myself of the habit of writing down my thoughts just as they arrive in my head.
I came down by a set of little stairs which lets out by a hidden door in the western sitting room—only I forgot that I had given permission for the gentlemen to use it as a smoking room! And of course there were Colonel Sandition, M. Walker, and young Mr. Stark sitting around talking about whatever it is that gentlemen say on these occasions, faced all of a sudden with their hostess—with her hair down and her powdering gown over her déshabillé! Of course, they were all perfect gentlemen: the dear old Colonel was indeed quite anxious to be sure that there was nothing the matter, and so I blurted out the first thing that came into my head, which was that I was looking to see that the passage had no infestation of ants. Ants, my dear Dorothy! I felt in that moment that I should never be able to look one of them in the face again.( Read more... )